AARP partners with startups to advance health IT solutions
- As health IT companies develop new technologies for the elderly, AARP is throwing its hat in the ring through collaborations with three healthcare startups.
- The powerful seniors lobbying group is collaborating with Pillo Health to study diabetes management using an AI-enabled countertop healthcare assistant. The study will launch this summer in Boston area homes.
- AARP is also teaming on a study with Orbita to assess AI-assisted voice applications in remote patient monitoring and to reduce social isolation. The third project, with Folia Health, involves use of digital tools to improve diabetes management in patients aged 50 and older.
The graying of the population is fueling big business opportunities in the healthcare and assisted living fields. More than 10,000 Americans age into Medicare each day, and increasingly those seniors are looking to remain in their homes. Technologies that promote wellness and independent living such as medical alert systems, remote sensors, connected scales, blood pressure cuffs and voice command technologies will only grow in demand.
AARP worked with all three companies to identify areas for collaboration working with a venture startup group called the MassChallenge accelerator program. To participate, companies must have raised less than $5 million and have less than $5 million in revenue.
“As we work to provide solutions for people 50-plus we seek to collaborate with like-minded innovators who are focused on solving today’s healthcare challenges,” Andy Miller, senior vice president of innovation and product development at AARP, said in a statement. “Folia Health, Orbita and Pillo are focusing on some of the biggest health issues of our day, including diabetes management, remote patient monitoring and social isolation.”
Among those eying the space is consumer electronics giant Best Buy. On an earnings call last week, CEO Hubert Joly said the company sees long-term strategic business plan includes health and wellness products. The company is currently testing Assured Living, a technology-driven service aimed at helping the elderly stay healthy at home.
One of the challenges with aging in place is getting seniors on board with digital tools and making the experience more user-friendly. While there are many individual solutions available in the market, there is little integration among them.
“The biggest drawback right now for a lot of technologies is consumer adoption,” Jody Holzman, senior managing partner at Longevity Venture Advisors and former senior vice president for market innovation at AARP, told Healthcare Dive last year. “To the degree that all these are separate, it’s another thing that the individual has to adapt to, and we’re not quite at the point where the technologies are adapting to the life and life flow of the individual. When we get to that point, that’s really when the friction start to disappear … [and] adoption is going to take off.”
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